Tulsa potter, Mark Linholm makes pottery specifically designed for orchids and succulents. His 30-years of experience with plants have helped him understand what plants need so his pottery helps gardeners grow them successfully.
“I’ve been a horticulturist for the City of Tulsa for 26-years,” said Linholm. “I started throwing pots at the 3rd Street Clayworks when my daughter started taking classes ten years ago.”
When we toured Linholm’s gardens at his home and then saw more of his pottery at Clayworks, his success with both was obvious. Wherever he had plants in his pots they were thriving.
“I’m a gardener by instinct and I only wanted to make functional art,” said Linholm. “By adding the right number of drainage holes in the right places, I can make succulent and orchid planters that work to support the plants’ needs.”
|3rd Street Clayworks|
Linholm said he also collects a lot of second hand stuff but only things he can visualize a use for. His home gardens fill the front and back yards as well as both side yards. Plus, Linholm dug a small basement to use as a greenhouse where he over-winters plants and coaxes cuttings into new plants for all the flower beds.
At 3rd Street Clayworks (www.clayworkstulsa.com), Linholm uses an electric kick wheel to throw his pots.
“Once the pot is created, it is set aside to become leather-hard, then I trim and put in the necessary drainage holes,” said Linholm. “We use special tools to shape the bottom and a cordless drill to make the holes. We go through a lot of drill bits getting it right.”
|Linholm's porch provides a relaxing spot|
and ideal light for succulents.
For orchid pots, the key is exceptional drainage so each time they are watered there is adequate air exchange for the roots. The water should run through and drain away, forcing air through the roots and soil.
The owner of Clayworks, Jeff Wells, mixes all the glazes that the pots are dipped into after all the shaping and prep work is completed. Then the pots are fired, a process that removes the chemical residues.
To grow succulents, Linholm recommends filling the planter with a combination of half good potting soil and half gravel. Plant the succulents and then mulch the top of the soil completely with a layer of gravel.
|Linholm's ideal succulent container|
Linholm said, “The gravel has to be small with rough edges; never use limestone. I buy the gravel I use at Hardscape Materials (http://hardscapematerials.com) in Bixby. The mix of soil and gravel with gravel mulch drains and dries quickly, plus it’s more attractive.”
For orchids, he makes larger, heavier pots so they are stable as the roots fill the containers and the tops thrive.
“With the right mix in these pots, the root systems can outweigh normal containers, causing the whole thing to fall and break apart,” Linholm said. “To reduce the need to break the pottery to repot the plants, I usually put a plastic liner pot inside my pottery.”
The plastic liners, orchid planting medium/soil and other supplies that Linholm uses are available from the online resource rePotme (www.rePotme.com).
“Orchids do well with the ground cork planting soil from rePotme,” Linholm said. “Why not invest in good soil after you invest in orchid plant starts.”
During the summer, Linholm keeps orchids outside in filtered light and waters them at least once a day.
You can contact Mark Linholm through email at email@example.com . He sells pottery at garden events such as the annual Tulsa Orchid Show, Garden Fest and sometimes at Gypsy Coffee House in the Brady Arts District. His pottery company is called Orchid and Garden Pottery.
Resources: Oklahoma Orchid Society: http://oosorchids.org or Marcy Robinowitz 918-289-1425. Cacti and Succulent Society of Tulsa: www.cactus-mall.com/clubs/tulsa.html or Lynn Wilson 918-357-2401.